Letter To California Regional Water Quality Control Board

Chairman Murray and Members of the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Control Board:

My name is Dennis Durgan and I serve as Chairman of the Newport Harbor Foundation. The Foundation was founded in 2019 for the purpose of preserving, protecting and enhancing Newport Harbor for the benefit of the City of Newport Beach, the homeowners on or near the bay, the commercial operators in the bay, and the recreational users of the bay. The Foundation’s founders, contributors, and members are made up of individuals and business who have a long history of using and enjoying the harbor and a vested interest in its enhancement and preservation for use by current and future generations. On behalf the Foundation and its Board of Directors, I am reaching out to you to express our support for the currently pending project for dredging of Newport Harbor and construction of the confined aquatic disposal (CAD) site.

You have an opportunity before you to move forward the long awaited dredging of Newport Harbor. The dredging will bring the harbor to its design depth which will provide for better flushing which will significantly enhance the water quality. In conjunction with the dredging the City of Newport Beach has the opportunity to remove unsuitable materials currently lying on the floor of the harbor and place them in a secure CAD. This is a one-time opportunity for the City of Newport Beach to remove these materials from the harbor floor. If not done in conjunction with the dredging, the cost of disposal at a future date is prohibitive.

The City of Newport Beach has worked tirelessly for years to bring this project to fruition. The City has committed $10,000,000 to the Army Corps of Engineers to move the project forward and has certified the project Environmental Impact Report. It is my understanding that your staff have reviewed all of the studies and environmental reports and the certified the EIR.

We are near the end of the road. You have two choices: 1) move this project forward by approving the Application for the Section 401 Water Quality Certification And Order to allow the bay to be dredged to its design depth which will significantly enhance its flushing capability and water quality, remove and encapsulate the unsuitable materials that today are lying on the floor of the bay and take advantage of the Federal grant money that has been obtained by the City of Newport Beach; or 2) disapprove the Application, leave the unsuitable materials in the bay, and allow the bay to continue to silt up causing navigational problems and deteriorating water quality.

The Newport Harbor Foundation strongly urges you to approve the City of Newport Beach Application, move the dredging and CAD forward, and enhance the water quality in the bay for the benefit of all who use and recreate on Newport Harbor.

Thank you for your consideration.

Dennis Durgan

Newport Harbor Foundation
Dennis Durgan

Newport Harbor’s newest and largest public dock is now open for recreational boaters.

On Friday, March 29 I had the pleasure of joining Newport Beach City Council members along with officials from the County of Orange, the Irvine Company and State Assembly to celebrate the Balboa Marina Public Pier grand opening.

Newport Beach has a handful of iconic attractions that have stood the test of time: The Newport Pier, which replaced the original McFadden Wharf (1888-1939) and is registered as a California Historical Landmark; the Balboa Pavilion, which opened on July 1, 1906 and is the city’s oldest standing building; and the Balboa Island Ferry, which went into service in 1919 to bring cars and passengers across 900 feet of water between Balboa Island and the Balboa Fun Zone.

Michele Gile reports from Newport Beach with Seymour Beek, where many are celebrating that the beloved Balboa Island ferry’s fate is no longer in jeopardy after receiving a $7.9 million grant to convert from diesel to zero-emissions operations by 2025.

The 8th Annual Newport Beach Wooden Boat Festival will return to the Balboa Yacht Club, June 7 – 8, 2024 with more than 40 wooden vessels of all sizes on display, and a collection of master artisans and craftsmen at work.

This year’s festival theme is “The Art & Craft of the Wooden Boat” in celebration of the creative artistry, intricate craftsmanship, and timeless beauty of wooden boats.
“Event guests will be able to immerse themselves in the centuries-old artform of wooden boat building, and the fine woodworking and artistic details that adorn the boats,” said event chair Stephen Paljieg. “This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. Its theme captures the essence of the passion and artistry behind these magnificent, one-of-a-kind watercrafts and the inclusion of the master craftsmen who build and keep them in ‘Bristol condition’ takes it to a whole new level of experience.”